New Delhi: The Congress Wednesday said the Supreme Court's order saying that people in conflict with law should not be made ministers was an indirect advice to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to drop those with criminal background from his government.
"Indirectly the Supreme Court has advised the prime minister of the country to drop all these 13-14 ministers who have criminal backgrounds. Before becoming the prime minister of the country and the elections, he must have said that my cabinet will be clean and we are going to fight corruption," Congress leader Rashid Alvi said.
"It is the responsibility of the prime minister to drop all of them and take action," he added.
Trinamool Congress member and former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi said criminals have no place in parliament.
"Criminals have no place in parliament, forget being a minister. People with hardcore criminal record have no place in the legislative assembly and parliament... There is a need to clean public life," Trivedi said.
The Supreme Court Wednesday said that though there was no bar on the prime minister recommending any person to be a minister in the government, being a custodian of constitutional morality and trust, he is expected not to make tainted people ministers.
An apex court constitution bench said that though no disqualification could be added to Article 75(1) of the constitution that empowers the prime minister to make anyone a minister, a person in conflict with law should not be entrusted with executive responsibilities.
However, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy said that even if a person has an FIR against him, he cannot be labelled a criminal.
"...Even if there is an FIR against a person, it can't be said that the person has a criminal background. Or even a police chargesheet does not make a person have a criminal background," he said.
"However, charges can be framed by the court after hearing the police version and the defence of the accused... but even on such matters the law is not very clear," he said.